This newsletter starts with a game. Don’t worry, you’ve already played it – it’s called “Which One of These Doesn’t Belong Here?”. (If you listen carefully, you can still hear the Sesame Street tune playing in the background).
Great, here we go – which one of these doesn’t belong here?
a) the Book of Ezra
b) the Book of Nehemiah
c) medical students & healthcare professionals
If you’re like me, I’m guessing you chose “c”. Normally, we don’t associate historical books of the Old Testament with modern healthcare students and professionals, but our recent Winter Conference proved that they really do belong together.
Our speaker, Dr. Bruce Leibert, used the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah – as well as his own experiences – to paint a picture of what a life committed to Christ’s calling in healthcare can look like. To take just one example, Dr. Leibert referred to the opening chapters of Nehemiah where he received news of Jerusalem’s ruined condition, even though it had been nearly 100 years since the first exiles had returned. In his privileged position as cupbearer to the king, it would’ve been easy for Nehemiah to ignore the plight of his people. Instead, he wept and confessed his, and his people’s, sins before the Lord. In Dr. Leibert’s words, Nehemiah was “shaken” from the status quo and moved to heartfelt confession by what he saw.
But that was not enough. God wanted him to move beyond sorrow to godly action that would produce real change. And so, in a response of great personal courage, Nehemiah asks the King of Persia if he could journey to Jerusalem and rebuild its ruins. God disturbed Nehemiah so that he might be “stirred” to bold action that would transform a nation.
Through his own personal experiences as a physician, Dr. Leibert went on to challenge us to be both “shaken” by our sins and circumstances, and “stirred” to do something about them. In my conversations with others throughout the weekend, it became clear that God was using the messages to do just that. As one example, someone shared that God was showing him how angry he had been with his family and life in general, but how he still was in the process of being stirred to do something about that. These small, but significant, moments of personal transformation are a large part of what Winter Conference is all about.
Thank you so much for making opportunities like this one possible. We are grateful to be your representatives on Philadelphia’s medical campuses!
Grace to you,
Bryan & Sharon Stoudt
Please join us in bringing these prayers and praises before Our Father:
* Praise God for a fantastic Winter Conference! The weekend drew 250 healthcare students and professionals, and the Lord was truly at work through the messages and warm fellowship throughout the weekend. Praise God also that we connected with many of the students from this past SMI (our summer missions trip). Please pray for lasting fruit as those who came return to the challenges of ‘life as usual’.
* Praise God for his rich financial provision this past year. By His grace and your generosity, we met our budget for the year!
* Pray for the Lord to raise up more staff volunteers for our medical campuses. Many staff have transitioned due to growing families and missions opportunities, and we really rely on them to minister to the students effectively.
* Finally, please pray for me as I seek more discipleship and teaching opportunities. This is the heartbeat of my ministry, and I am eager to join the Lord in his work!